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What Is the Deadline for the FAFSA? (And Other FAFSA Questions)

Posted Thursday, Feb 24, 2022 by Altierus

Applying to college? Congratulations! You’re taking a major step toward new opportunities. You’re also taking on some paperwork—especially when it comes to financial aid. If you have questions about the FAFSA form, such as what the deadline is, who can fill one out, and more, this article is for you. We offer an overview of this important financial aid form, including when you can apply, what information you need to complete it, and more.

What the FAFSA Is (and What It Isn’t)

“FAFSA” stands for “Free Application for Federal Student Aid.” The FAFSA is administered and processed by the U.S. Department of Education. It matters because it’s the most important form you need to complete to find out whether you qualify for federal financial aid—and it also plays an important role in determining your eligibility for state financial aid or institutional programs.

When you fill out the FAFSA, you’re submitting your information for an evaluation. You’re not entering into a loan contract or other financial agreement. You’re just asking the federal government to determine what aid you may be eligible for based on your financial status.

What Types of Aid Are Available with the FAFSA?

Filling out the FAFSA determines whether you’re eligible for the following types of federal student aid:

As mentioned above, your state may also use the FAFSA to determine if you qualify for state-based aid, including grants or loans, and the school you’re accepted to may use it to work out if you qualify for internal grants or need-based scholarships.

For example, Altierus Career College offers the Altierus Student Grant program, along with other scholarship opportunities that may use the FAFSA as a basis for evaluation.

Who Qualifies for Financial Aid?

Most students attending college in the U.S. receive financial aid. The U.S. Department of Education reports that 96 percent of students at two-year private nonprofit colleges like Altierus received some form of aid in 2018-2019, the most recent year for which statistics are available.[i]

Students who are U.S. citizens, permanent resident non-citizens (“green card” holders) and immigrants who hold certain types of I-94 visas from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can apply for financial aid if they are attending an eligible college or career college.[ii]

International students and non-resident immigrants can’t apply for financial aid. Students who have prior criminal convictions for specific types of violent crime may also have limited eligibility for financial aid, regardless of their immigration status.[iii]

Note that if you’re a dependent student who still lives with your parents or guardians, their immigration status has no bearing on your eligibility, and the FAFSA does not ask any questions about it when you apply.[iv]

Also note that there is no income cut-off for financial aid. Even if you think you earn too much, you should complete your FAFSA make sure you’re not missing out on funding.

What Is the Deadline for FAFSA?

The deadline for the FAFSA is June 30 of every academic year. The application period runs from October 1 – June 30. So, if you want to enroll in a program for 2022-23, you’ll need to apply by June 30, 2022. States and schools may have different deadlines for the FAFSA. Check with the college you’re applying to in order to make sure you file on time for their deadline.

Also, you will need to fill out a FAFSA for every year that you’re in college—not just the first time you enroll. This ensures that your financial aid package reflects your current financial situation, and that you are considered for any new aid programs Congress enacts while you’re still in school.

What Information Do I Use to Fill Out the FAFSA?

To complete the FAFSA, you’ll need proof of identity, recent financial documentation, and the federal school code of the college you’re applying to. You can find the federal school code through an online search. Make sure you choose the right campus as well as the right school. Altierus Career College’s school codes vary by campus:

For identification, you’ll need your Social Security number (SSN) or Alien Registration number (for non-citizens). You’ll also need a state-issued driver’s license number, if you have one, and a reliable e-mail address and mobile phone number where studentaid.gov can send you notifications.

Financial documentation includes:

Dependent students will also need financial documentation from their parents or guardians.

How Do I Complete the FAFSA?

Once you have your identification and financial documents, the first step is creating a Federal Student Aid ID account (FSA ID) on the studentaid.gov website using your SSN and phone number. Creating this account makes it possible for you to fill out your FAFSA. You can also use it later to complete other tasks related to any federal student aid you may receive, such as signing the master promissory note for a student loan.

Note that if you are a dependent student, your parent or guardian will also need to create an FSA ID to fill in their financial information on the FAFSA as well as co-sign the promissory note for any loans you may receive.[v]

Next, you can choose to download the myStudentAid app, use the studentaid.gov website, or print a paper copy of the FAFSA to get started. You’ll progress through the questions, providing your identifying information first and then your financial information. The time it takes to complete the file will depend on your student status. According to an October 2021 U.S. News & World Report article, first-time dependent students spent an average of 63 minutes to fill out the form online, while first-time independent students took an average of just 24 minutes.[vi] Completing the paper copy may take longer.

Once you’ve submitted all your answers, you can sign the electronic form using your FSA ID information. There’s also an option to print out, physically sign, and mail a copy of your form, but note that this results in a longer processing time.

What Happens After I Complete the FAFSA?

Once you complete the FAFSA, you may be asked to log back in and make corrections before it can be processed. Once the form is processed, the U.S. Department of Education will send you a Student Aid Report (SAR) which summarizes the information you provided and calculates your estimated family contribution (EFC)—the amount they think you’ll be able to pay out of pocket for school.

Then, the school you’ve applied to will review your FAFSA and present you with an award letter. This includes the federal and state aid you are eligible for, as well as any aid offered by the school, such as a scholarship or grant based on financial need. The financial aid staff will be able to help advise you about any final steps once you’ve enrolled.

Still Have Questions About the FAFSA or Financial Aid at Altierus?

We at Altierus Career College aim to help make the admissions and financial aid process as straightforward for our students as possible. Visit our financial aid cost estimator tool today to get an idea of how affordable an Altierus education can be!


[i] https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=31, second chart

[ii] https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/eligibility

[iii] https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/eligibility/requirements/criminal-convictions

[iv] https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/eligibility/requirements/non-us-citizens#parent-status

[v] https://studentaid.gov/fsa-id/create-account/launch

[vi] https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/paying-for-college/articles/completing-the-fafsa